Ali Wentworth on Encouraging Positive Body Image: 'I'm Naked Around My Kids'
Comedian Ali Wentworth‘s latest book Happily Ali After delves into the hilarious pitfalls of aging (turns out, when your husband is called a “sexual icon,” you can be driven to Botox!), but once you hear how she teaches her daughters Elliot, 12 and Harper, 10, about healthy body image, you’ll want to take a page out of her real-life book, too.
“I’m naked around my kids,” Wentworth tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I don’t parade, but they’ll come in and talk to me in the shower … I embrace it and teach them not to be ashamed of their bodies in general, no matter what they look like.”
She continues, “I grew up in a household where we didn’t talk about anything like that. As I got older, I thought, ‘I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this.’ All of that repressed WASPy stuff doesn’t work for me.”
Her husband, Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos “is pretty on par with me when it comes to full disclosure and being open,” according to Wentworth.
“We don’t believe in lying to kids, because I made a mistake when years ago our daughter was younger. She came in and caught us [having sex],” she reveals. “And I said, ‘Daddy’s tickling me.’ He said, ‘We’re making love.’ ”
“And it was just like, ‘Ahh, what’s the right answer?’ It turns out the right answer is what he said. Now that could have been enough for her, or she could have said, ‘What’s that?’ But she knew that he wasn’t tickling me. So for me to lie to her makes her think like I’m ashamed of it or it’s a bad thing.”
Still, Wentworth doesn’t want her daughters to grow up too quickly.
“I want them to be little girls, and I think the Internet and television just propels them into adulthood so quickly,” she explains. “I know they’re not going to wear little smock dresses, but I still want to bake cupcakes and read stories.”
Wentworth adds, “My older one, she’s so curious, she wants to watch the Bruce Jenner interview and everything. But my younger one still believes in fairies. So I try to preserve that. Just let them be little kids.”
— Catherine Kast